The most prominent outcome of President Truong Tan Sang’s recent visit to Laos is strong consensus towards pushing the Vietnam-Laos relationship forward, Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Minh Khoi told the Vietnam News Agency.

The three-day visit that began on March 23 was significant for developing the traditional friendship, special solidarity and close-knit cooperation between the two Parties and countries, he said.

Both sides agreed to facilitate visits and strengthen trust by raising public awareness of the time-honoured friendship, especially during the commemoration of big anniversaries held by both countries in 2015.

Apart from solidifying national defence-security cooperation, Vietnam and Laos will complete a project to increase and upgrade border markers and improve laws on border management.

They will also deliver on government-level commitments on free immigration and unregistered marriages in border areas as well as a protocol on Vietnam-Laos defence cooperation signed on January 20, while combating drug crime, trade fraud, and forestry-mining product smuggling.

Agreeing to bring the outcomes of the 37 th meeting of the Vietnam-Laos Inter-governmental Committee to life, they shared the view that the trade agreement renewal is a step towards lifting trade to 2 billion USD, up 40 percent from 2014.

To that end, both nations will work on a trans-border trade agreement in 2015 and a master plan on Vietnam-Laos border trade through 2020. They will also accelerate transport and energy connectivity projects.

On regional and global issues of shared concern, both sides confirmed the need to intensify collaboration among ASEAN member nations as the ASEAN Community is established later this year.

The Vietnamese State leader assured his host that Vietnam is willing to work closely with Laos and help the country assume its role as the ASEAN Chair in 2016.

The two leaders also discussed the maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea as well as the sustainable use of water resources in the Mekong River, including the construction of hydropower plants on the Mekong mainstream.

The Deputy Minister underlined the significance of the visit at a time when the national defence and development cause presents challenges to Vietnam and Laos, especially in the context of unpredictable and complicated changes in the world political and economic situations while the ASEAN is approaching the historical landmark of forming a Community. The year 2015 is also an important year as both countries will hold National Party Congresses to elect a new leadership and roll out orientations for the coming years./.